Three Tips for Successful Mentorship
All of us at any age or station in life can benefit from getting a mentor and being a mentor. So how does it work? You can join a formal mentorship program such as those offered through many companies, universities or business associations or you can establish an informal mentorship relationship on your own.
You can join a formal mentorship program such as those offered through many companies, universities or business associations or you can establish an informal mentorship relationship on your own. I actively participate in mentorship both ways and here’s three tips:
1) Protégés do all the work- they take responsibility for finding a mentor, arranging the meetings, determining the location and setting the agenda. To be cognizant of the mentor’s time protégés need to come to the meeting prepared to work on a specific issue, rather than make small talk. A good way to start is write down your goals to share with your mentor. All of the above are important elements of the learning experience.
2) Mentors just have to show up- their job is offering their experience and expertise so no preparation is necessary. They give advice and the protege chooses whether or not to take it. Mentors should never be offended if a protege chooses a different route than what they recommend. Its all part of the process. Mentors obviously have a vested interest in the success of their protege so they may use their contacts to open doors for them as well.
3) Begin with the end in mind- mentors will find it easier to take on a protege if they don’t feel they are adopting someone for life so I recommend a term limit. At a minimum, agree to four one hour meetings, over the course of a year, held once per quarter. At the end of that period you will have established a relationship. It can be renewed by mutual consent. But if not, the protege has made a friend- someone to call on in the future.
I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to see those that I have mentored gain confidence, tackle obstacles, forge their own paths and enjoy great careers.
The best part is that they are now becoming mentors for others. Research shows that those who mentor reap rich internal rewards leaving them
more emotionally stable. So getting a mentor and being a mentor creates a winning legacy. Who doesn’t want to be part of that?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After a highly successful career in business, including 26 years with PotashCorp where she was Senior Vice-President, Betty-Ann retired in 2007, the same year that she was named to Canada‘s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame™. She now works as a speaker, author and mentor and is committed to using her personal and professional experiences to inspire and empower other women. A firm believer in the value women bring to organizations, Betty-Ann explores changing perceptions of male and female roles including candid observations about what she calls "Good Gender Physics” on her blog at www.stillettochick.com. She helps both men and women understand the primary energy of their gender but also accept and appreciate the strengths of their opposite.